Hurrican Sandy

the worst part of living in new england is you have a strong sense of identity based on slightly cold weather, dunkin donuts, and the memory of hurricane sandy, and literally no one else in the world cares

In 2012, I was affected by Hurricane Sandy. My hometown and home thankfully weren’t demolished or anything, but becoming aware of the very real devastation that was so close by really shook me. I bring this up now because I’m scared. I think if we continue on the path we’re on, as weather patterns get more intense, the city I live in now could face another disaster like Sandy or worse. Maybe some people can’t really fathom the entire planet being affected by climate change, and that’s fine, it’s a big world. But anyone who cares about their home/their state/their country and wants to see it stay safe for the future, should be worried and should be acting now.


Evidently it’s National Clean Off Your Desk day. We have a pretty big (and cool) new desk to clean! It was completely designed and built by Lehigh University students, with wood salvaged from trees felled by Hurricane Sandy. Some of the trees were older than the university itself. The wood has been used to make a conference room table in Williams Hall, a table for President Simon’s office and most recently this Visitor’s Center Desk. @luaadblog

Those Bridal Gown Shows

I’m a sucker for the I found my gown and say yes to the dress (both of them) shows. I admit I have never been in the stressful position of looking for a dress with my loved ones. I don’t get loved ones saying what a bride should wear and the bride meekly acquiescing to their demands. So I find myself getting angry for the bride who is usually in tears in the dressing room.

Then there are the moments that my emotions (and hormones) take over, and I need a box of Kleenex. 😃 Tonight I was watching “I found my dress” which is the Vows store where they sell deeply discounted dresses. This poor woman had a beautiful dress, but her apartment flooded in the Sandy hurricane. She only had $150 for a dress. The attendant went to the owners with the woman’s story. The owners give one bride a year a dress. So this woman got a dress free! The attendant was crying, the bride was crying, her daughters were crying. And I was crying. Hormones + acts of kindness = The Ugly Cry. Oh, well. Whatcha gonna do?! lol
(BTW - Lazaro would be my dress designer of choice incase you were wondering. lol)

Man, I gotta be up for work in a few and I can’t sleep so I’m gonna vent about things I miss.

I miss high school, from baseball with my brother and Nick, the bus ride home, my crappy old phone, everything. I remember hurricane sandy shut down life for a whole week and @nickyykid spent the entire week at the crib. Drinking like 5 Red Bull’s every night and mad junk food, playing 2k and working out while lit. It was the best of times.

As the rain and wind swirled outside the window during Superstorm Sandy more than two years ago, Liz Treston’s family helped her into bed.

Treston, 54, was disabled in a diving accident when she was in her twenties. She uses a wheelchair to get around her Long Island, N.Y., home and an electronic lift machine to get into her bed. The night the storm hit, she wanted to be ready for sleep in case the power went out.

Her basement was ruined. There was the fridge, a washer and dryer, five bikes, her family’s winter clothes, a bedroom set and other kitchen appliances.

She received a $7,000 dollar grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay for the hotel she and her family stayed in while the house was repaired. She got another $4,500 grant to help cover things in the basement that were destroyed.

She says she spent the money soon after and that she was grateful for all the help. So this past October, when she received an envelope with FEMA letterhead in the mail, Treston wasn’t sure what to think.

For Some Superstorm Sandy Victims, The Government Wants Its Money Back

Photo credit: Alex Welsh for NPR

Here’s a picture of Hurricane Sandy. Can you spot the swing state?

That is, of course, the wrong question to ask. Most people don’t want politics to corrupt the collective response to a crisis. For our leaders, that means tackling this emergency without caring about political goals or risks. For us, it means focusing on helping each other and putting politics aside. President Obama hit that note in his press conference on Monday afternoon, saying:

I am not worried at this point on the impact on the election. I’m worried about the impact on families and our first responders.

Even if political maneuvering is quarantined for a few days, however, political reality will not be ignored. If the forecasts are right, this storm is on pace to essentially truncate the homestretch of the presidential campaign. Instead of the closing arguments and flagrant fouls that characterize the end of tight races, people will watch the President take command during a crisis.

That dynamic is usually an advantage for the incumbent.  In fact, even in crises where a president’s performance or policies prove unpopular, the short-term reaction tends to trigger an automatic spike in public approval. (In the international context, political scientist John Mueller documented this trend in his authoritative study, Presidential Popularity from Truman to Johnson.) So even if Hurricane Sandy causes great tragedy and legitimate questions about the government’s response, the incumbent is unlikely to suffer for it at the polls.

And that’s not the only hard part for Romney.

While the notion of putting politics aside is often presented as a “neutral” or universal goal, it effectively punishes the challenger more, by leaving him with nothing to do.  Campaigning or debating during a policy challenge makes both candidates relevant – and there’s plenty to debate when big policy decisions are on the table. (It’s always struck me as absurd that faced with a policy crisis, people say candidates should stop campaigning on policy. But that’s how both parties deal with gun control after mass shootings, and how the McCain Campaign initially reacted to the financial crisis.) Now that campaigning is suspended, it’s hard for Romney to do anything constructive or be in the conversation. So Romney has a tough challenge – “to remain relevant and not sit idly by while the president shows empathy and leadership,” as John Hudak of the Brookings Institution observed today. 

In the end, it is understandable that we don’t want disaster response infected by any hint of partisan goals, but that does not require sublimating all campaigning during the final stretch of the campaign.

- Ari Melber